Topic Author
Posts: 145
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2000 9:31 am

Assistance On My Technique Please......

Tue Jan 30, 2001 11:44 am

Hey All,

I was hoping that i could get a bit of feedback from all of the the photographers out there about a problem i keep running into when taking photos.

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Dave Faulkner

For example this picture here. The day i took this pic was quite bright but quite overcast. I used a Fuji Superia 100 print film with a shutter speed of about 350. I am frequently dissapointed by the depth of color in these types of shots where the cloud cover is evident. As you can see the background looks completely white and thus takes the drama away from the photo.
What i want to do is add a little 'depth' to the color of the clouds by using the camera differently. I realise that i can edit the pics digitally, but i am keen to learn how to do it 'properly'.

Even though in the pic it looks pure white, on the day the coulds had a bit of darkness and color to them. To me it would look like overexposure, but i fear that if a were to slow the shutter speed down the pic would lose quality.

If any of you would have any suggestoins as to what i might try to increase the depth of the photo that would be great. Feel free to take a look at all of my pics and give whatever feedback good or bad also!!.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Looking forward to all your reponses


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RE: Assistance On My Technique Please......

Tue Jan 30, 2001 12:08 pm

Here are my two suggestions : start shooting Kodachrome slide film, and try shooting the plane from the OTHER side, with the sun behind you and not in front.


What other people think of you is none of your business!
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RE: Assistance On My Technique Please......

Tue Jan 30, 2001 12:09 pm

Your camera is overexposing the sky because you are shooting the dark (shadow) side of the aircraft. Switch on over to the sunny side, and you'll be very happy with the results!

My name is Scott, and I am addicted to writing obnoxiously-detailed trip reports.
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RE: Assistance On My Technique Please......

Tue Jan 30, 2001 12:57 pm

Also after studying the light, it would appear that this may have been a mid-day shot, I say this because most of the usable light appears to be on the top portion of the plane. If indeed this is the case than is is one of the worst times of the day to be shooting this subject matter, it really makes no matter what side of the plane you are on....unless that is of course you are somehow above it.


"Show me the Braniffs"

RE: Assistance On My Technique Please......

Tue Jan 30, 2001 1:28 pm

Hi Dave:
I agree with the above suggestions. Get the sun behind you somewhere. Using the face of a clock, if you're at 6 o'clock, it's great to have the sun at anywhere from 4 to 8 o'clock. Even 3 or 9, but you may get into nasty shadow situations if the light is strong. That is trying to accomodate too big a range of light (highlight to shadow). I know I have a shot of Polar Air Cargo where I'm shooting right into the setting sun. I knew exactly what I wanted when I shot that and shot it as a silhouette eventhough it "breaks the rules" spoken above.
Also, you might try shooting towards either end of the day like the first or last couple hours of day-light when the sun is low in the sky--that can add some drama. Add to that the perspective of a long lens and you can really come up with a winner!
Hey, you have some really nice views! I noticed there were lots of white skies, which I guess is what your original question addressed. If I were you, I would spend the film on overcast days on scenes that don't include the sky. You can get marvelous detail since the shadows would be virtually non-existent. Then, on blue sky days, shoot stuff in the air. If you have a colorful sunset lighting up the clouds behind the plane, then shoot it. But keep the main light behind you somewhere.
And then of course we're all aware of the vantage points we'd like to have access to and those we are limited to. Don't you just wish we could all somehow safely have free reign??

Just some thoughts...

Topic Author
Posts: 145
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2000 9:31 am

RE: Assistance On My Technique Please......

Tue Jan 30, 2001 1:36 pm

Thanx for the repsonses guys!...much appreciated.

One thing i should have mentioned was that it was about 11am and the sun was slightly behind me. It was infact probably more over the top of me than behind. But i definately wasnt shooting into the sun. I do try to make a concious effort not to do that.

Also, is there really much of a benefit from slide. I am able to get depth like this out of print and really am quite happy with it. Even though mind you i dont quite know why this one is like this yet the next shot in the roll is nowhere near as good!

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Dave Faulkner

The sun was just off to one side of this shot.........but the colors came out so amazinbgly deep. Why is this so???? This shot has not had any other color saturation or anything like that.

Thanx for your help guys.



PS.......any feedback on any of my other photos. I am really now wanting to start experimenting a bit more.

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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 1999 6:02 pm

RE: Assistance On My Technique Please......

Tue Jan 30, 2001 4:37 pm

As I understand, the defference between these two photos might be explained as:
Our eyes determine much more colors and light levels than any film does. That's why if your film has to choose the exposure between dark and light object it cannot reflex everything.
The second picture has a small defference between the light level of the backgound and the aircraft...that's why they both visible. Actually the angle of shooting really matters when around midday.
Might be not a proffesional word, but I hope you caught my opinion.

With regards,
Faerberg Leonid

RE: Assistance On My Technique Please......

Fri Feb 02, 2001 6:16 pm


One other thing I wanted to mention. If you have the money and you wanted to see your images really "take-off" as it were, invest in an incident light meter. Any camera shop can give you info on one. I rarely use an on-board (built into the camera) camera meter because they are just too limiting. If you are in a situation where you're in the same light as the planes or whatever scenes you're shooting, (probably most times we are) an incident meter will get you perfectly exposed images if you understand how it works and it's not difficult at all--you'll be very satisfied, Dave, trust me. Even if you're not in the same light, after a while, your eye will become more adept at noticing the differences and you can make an appropriate change in exposure.

Don't get me wrong, camera meters have their place and there are a few times when I do choose the cam meter over the incident meter, but that's rare. All on-board camera meters are dependent on a reflectance of 18% gray which happens sometimes but we have absolutely no guarantee from scene to scene which is reflecting a brightness of 18% gray. And of course some of the more recent cameras have more advanced matrix metering which does a pretty good job. Even then, I would still invest in an incident meter. You have greater control.

There are many brands, Gossen, Sekonic...Minolta makes several, one is about $250 (at b&h in NYC) and is also a flash meter which would be helpful if you were ever shooting with strobes (still-lifes, fashion or people shots, architectural interiors...)

If you want to see your shots advance another step, if you want more consistency and predictability in your shooting, buy and learn how to use an incident light meter. They're great. sorry this sounds like an ad! oh well...

Also, I think you had a question about slide film...I believe you will find that although neg film can give some great color and clarity, and is capable of being used in some pretty dim light, the best color comes from chromes (slide film). It's pretty much the photography industry standard medium. Not for weddings and portraiture, but rather for the printing side of the industry. And it needs to be exposed very accurately, thus an incident meter would be very helpful.

In my opinion, Fuji Provia 100F is the film to beat although its archiveability is still up in the air. It is awesome film with unbelieveable color and non-existent grain, or very near. I also use Fuji 800 press, a neg film which is very sharp for a speed of 800--it still blows my mind that an 800 neg film could be that sharp! Sorry to be so long-winded!!

Happy shooting...


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